Fifa’s Jerome Valcke sets the record straight

Fifa’s Jerome Valcke sets the record straight

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has issued a statement to clarify allegations that Mohamed Bin Hammam “bought” the 2022 World Cup finals for Qatar.

Valcke wrote: “[Hammam] thought you can buy Fifa as they bought the World Cup.”

But in Valcke said he was not referring to any “purchase of votes or similar unethical behaviour”.

“I’d like to clarify that I may use in an e-mail - a ‘lighter’ way of expression by nature - a much less formal tone than in any form of correspondence,” he said in a statement.

“When I refer to the 2022 World Cup in that e-mail, what I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support.

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“They were a candidate with a very important budget and have used it to heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner.

“I have at no time made, or was intending to make, any reference to any purchase of votes or similar unethical behaviour.”

The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team has also issued a statement “categorically denying any wrongdoing” over the bid.

Earlier Valcke emphasised that his email to Warner was intended to remain “private” and noted that Warner had only published selected parts of it.

“He [Warner] sent me an email asking if I want that [Bin Hammam to run for Fifa president], he said that I should ask Bin Hammam to pull out,” Valcke added.

Valcke also denied that he had influenced Fifa’s ethics committee, which suspended Warner and Bin Hammam on Sunday over separate allegations of bribery, pending further investigation.

He stated: “The first time I met the chairman of the ethics committee was yesterday [Sunday] at 1700 [BST] before we went to the press conference. I had no contact at all with anyone.”